GLENS FALLS — For the past 52 years, the Glens Falls NAACP has helped hundreds of young women and men pay for college expenses from funds raised at its bi-annual spring gala.

And this year’s event, “Justice through Education for Future Generations,” slated for April 27, will again garner college assistance funds for yet another group of college hopefuls.

“I love helping the students with college,” said event chairwoman Angela Braggs. “It might help them buy books or a laptop.”

Held every two years, the 2017 gala raised $9,000 for nine local students, spread over two years. And the amount the selected students receive, often ranging from $700 to $1,000 each, is directly related to the money raised at the biannual gala and the number of assistance applicants.

“We want people to buy tickets, make donations and we are also accepting donations of goods for the silent auction,” said Braggs.

Regarding this year’s “Justice through Education” theme, NAACP President Mary Gooden said, “there seems to be a lot of injustice these days.”

“We do need our children to come back here,” she said, adding that it is hard for minorities to get hired in local schools after graduation. “We need principals. They (students) need someone who looks like them. There is no reason for them to not be hired here.”

Keynote speaker Camille Joseph Varlack, chief operations officer and special counsel for Pierce, Bainbridge, Beck Price and Hecht, a trial law firm in New York City, will address justice-related issues.

In 2018, Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Varlack as New York Deputy Director of State Operations and in 2017, she was appointed New York State Chief Risk Officer and Special Counsel.

This year’s college assistance grant applications are due in May, with awards announcements in August.

Among the application requirements: An application essay, a college acceptance letter, and importantly, meeting the application deadline.

Nationally, the NAACP promotes educational achievement for disadvantaged students through targeting funds to neediest kids, creating a path to success after graduation for all students, and improving teaching by, “growing our own great teachers now in underserved communities.”

The semi-formal event, having garnered a reputation for its good food and dancing, promises more of the same, say organizers.

“There wasn’t anyone not dancing,” said Betty Anderson who is on the gala planning committee.

And Angela Braggs added that last year the food was outstanding. “The country club did a wonderful job.”

According to Lee Braggs, also on the gala planning committee, the college assistance awards reach out to 17 school districts in the area.

“Some people don’t realize we are here,” he said. “But we are here for all people. We have many stories of success from our recipients.”

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Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli covers Washington County government and other county news and events.


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